How We Came up with the 5 Main Views
The night glowed as the barn was consumed by flames. From all indications, it was another fire set by an arsonist. This made thirty-seven barns burned in less than a month. The FBI had been called in to investigate what appears to be a conspiracy of hate crimes. At first, it was pretty much assumed one group was responsible for all of the burnings. Basically, it was just a matter of identifying the responsible party. But as the agents began to compare notes, they found more questions than answers. Nothing seemed to make sense. There were so many inconsistencies and overlaps. Just when a pattern seemed to be developing, some other evidence would directly contradict it.
It was not until the FBI discovered the burnings were not the work of one group, but multiple groups (with different motives) that the pieces fell into place. As it turned out there were four categories that the burnings fell into: Accidental, revenge of a family member, hate groups and copycats.
When Steve Huntoon and I first started studying the subject of the heathen, we ran into the same problem of conflicting information. We wrote to over 100 Christian organizations asking them for their opinion on this subject. When we first started reviewing the responses from the Christian leaders, we found it difficult to get a firm understanding of the information being presented to us. It seemed they were saying one thing and then in the next breath, it appeared they were saying just the opposite.
Originally, we thought there were only two views concerning the heathen; either you felt they were lost or you did not. What we did not realize was that there were three other views that fell in-between. The pieces did not start to fit together until we realized there were five main views. Although there are more views, we have found these five to be the most common.
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